Thursday, February 2, 2012

QCTU Qualifier Preview

Queen City Tune-Up Qualifier in Chapel Hill this weekend is the first Without Limits tournament of 2012! The highest finisher (besides UNC A) will advance to Queen City Tune-Up in Charlotte next weekend. The Qualifier features ten teams from the Atlantic Coast region, and is a quality local playing opportunity for a number of teams.

The Pleiades are the clear favorite going into the weekend, but the team knows that they need to remain focused, not only to do well at the tournament, but to prepare themselves for tougher competition at next weekend's event. The team's most notable loss is 2011 Callahan winner Leila Tunnell, and in order to make another strong run this year, the team will have to adjust to the loss of their best thrower and all-around player. Other notable losses include 2nd Team All-Region players Janna Coulter, Britta Jones, and Kaitlin Baden.

Captains Lindsay Lang and Shellie Cohen will shoulder much of the burden for the Pleiades this season. Lang received All-Region honors last year and Cohen was voted FOTY, and both have spent time playing with North Carolina Phoenix (Lang in 2010 and Cohen in 2011). Their leadership and skills will be key to the Pleiades' success this year. The Pleiades also return coaches Lindsey Hack and Raj Prasad, who will do a great job molding young talent to play their best in April and May.

Elon takes the 2 seed into the weekend, coming off a strong showing at Wolfpack Invitational, with their only losses coming against 2011 Nationals Qualifiers UNCW and Virginia. Elon will be looking to qualify for next weekend's event and will be led by captain Lauren Krizay. UNC-Greensboro and Duke round out the top four, with Elizabeth Longmire and Meredith Chase leading their teams respectively.

Liberty is a second year team with a ton of athletic potential. Last year, they pulled off impressive wins against UMass and SUNY-Buffalo at Easterns, and also competed at Conference Championships for the first time. They will be looking to build on last year's successes and despite some personnel changes, have a dedicated coach and advocate in Jason Barett.

Wake Forest is one of the most interesting teams competing at the Qualifier. The team qualified for D-I Nationals in 2008, but has been rebuilding since. Gone are studs like Lucia Derks, Kennedy Wolfe, and Claire O'Brien. Coach Tammy Moose has departed as well. But this year, Wake Forest will be renewing their focus and competing in D-III. They will be a dangerous team in the Atlantic Coast and should easily contend for a bid to Nationals. This is the first step in their journey.

Davidson, UNC-B, JMU-B, and Virginia-B round out the field of teams. Of note, Kate Leslie of Bay Area Zeitgeist is now coaching UNC-B. Mary Schone will be a player to watch for Davidson, and JMU-B and Virginia-B represent some of the tremendous growth and development that is happening in the Atlantic Coast women's region.

In addition to tournament play, Triangle Area club players will be hosting a skills clinic on Saturday afternoon. The clinic is open to all QCTU Qualifier and TYUL participants.

Registration info is here:

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